The poets and poetry lovers of the UK have planned us a day of poetry readings, events, competitions, quizzes, exhibitions, commissions, creations, recitations and more.
Here in Derbyshire our own Poet Laureate Matt Black is going to be performing at two of our libraries – Ripley this afternoon between 3 and 4pm and Belper tonight from 7pm. For more details about Matt check out his own blogspot http://derbyshirepoetlaureate.blogspot.co.uk
Today would also be a good day to remember Ann Atkinson, a former Derbyshire Poet Laureate who died earlier this year.
Ann left a wonderful legacy in her published work and her commissions for public art which can be seen at different places in Derbyshire including The Hub in South Normanton; Blackwell Miners Welfare Cricket Ground; and her Companion Stone in Longshaw Park.
Derbyshire County Council has published ‘From Matlock to Mamelodi: 5000 miles of poetry with the Derbyshire Poet Laureate Ann Atkinson’ which features all of the poems written by Ann during her time as laureate. Copies are available to borrow in Derbyshire Libraries.
One of my favourite Derbyshire poets is Jane Weir and in the spirit of the day here is one she wrote about this county. It is in her book The Way I Dressed During The Revolution. http://janeweir.co.uk
The car still moving we scan
the grasses’ seed heads,
a weight of startled exclamation marks.
You are compelled to stop
by the pin-point of a hawk,
an air-borne crucifix set against
the marble biased dusk.
The engine turned off,
we listen as the White Peak silvers,
whitens, spreads its silence.
You, in your journeyman way take
my hand and walk me away,
over uncut quarries, through drowsy
flowers where our eyes fill
with unwindings of dandelions,
cowslips, lady’s smocks.
And here are the words to a track which over the years have inspired me. No Derbyshire link but it is National Poetry Day!
by Mike Scott
Man gets tired
Spirit lives when man dies
The spirit lives
Man is tethered
Spirit is free
What spirit is man can be
For more information about the day go to the national website http://www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk